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DFINITY - Due Diligence #98
DFINITY Stiftung (Foundation)
Purpose: Förderung von neuen Technologieentwicklungen und Applikationen, insbesondere die Förderung und Erhaltung von neuen offenen dezentralisierten Softwarearchitekturen. Im Vordergrund - aber nicht ausschliesslich - steht dabei die Förderung der Entwicklung des so genannten DFINITY Protokolls und die entsprechende Technologie sowie die Förderung und Unterstützung von Applikationen unter Anwendung des DFINITY Protokolls; vollständige Zweckumschreibung gemäss Statuten
Purpose (translated to EN): Promote new technology developments and applications, in particular the promotion and maintenance of new open decentralized software architectures. In the foreground - but not exclusively - is the promotion of the development of the so-called DFINITY protocol and the corresponding technology as well as the promotion and support of applications using the DFINITY protocol; complete purpose description according to the Articles of Association.
DFINITY ECOSYSTEM FUND LP
File Number: 6711235
Directors and Executives
Asked by user on 26 Feb 2018
5 April 2008
29 March 2018
Red Flag https://twitter.com/ICODrops/status/976104225796214786
With zero prior knowledge of DFINITY I spent this evening reading the “DFINITY White Paper Consensus system” which I consider the core technical paper. I spent 4 hours and here are my immediate thoughts.
Overall this feels like a work of quality. It is evident that a lot of effort and talent has gone into producing this white paper. I can probably answer many of my open question myself with further study, I get no sense that they are handweaving anywhere.
Some notable plusses
DFINITY explicitly addresses CAP and chooses consistency over availability. This should be obligatory for any financial transactional system but is still “forgotten” even in some top 10 coins. In case of network failure, a user will accept a payment being declined but he will not accept being fooled by a double-spend. Sounds pretty basic to me.
The paper describes an underlying random beacon powering the consensus and smart contract layer. The beacon is based on a verifiable random function (VRF). I have studied VRFs and while DFINITY is not the first coin to propose the use of VRFs it still seems a great fit for crypto in general and for their algorithm in particular.
DFINITY does not rely on clients having synchronized clocks. While I never got around to understanding why, it is still a step ahead of some of the competition.
A few minusses/open questions
The use of committees, VRF and “rounds” for consensus makes me wonder if they are at odds with the Algorand patents. I got some Algorand vibe reading it. I am no lawyer so no clue, but could it be an issue?
I didn’t find any description of the incentive of running a client?
Protection against sybil attacks is left as an exercise to the reader? They seem to require stake deposits...
“Scales to millions of clients” and “transaction time in seconds” claims but no empirical evidence in terms of a working prototype or a network simulation analysis in the paper?
There are a ton of attack vectors I didn’t find addressed. Maybe I need to study more, but I kept thinking “How many bad actors is required to deny service of the system? Can an adversary prevent clients from registering their public keys? Can he ddos committee members once they make themselves known?...”
Anyways, good luck to them. Technical foundation seems legit to me. Level of ambition of the overall project seems quite high. Nothing wrong with that, though.
All in my humble opinion. Do you own research!